autoBentley Continental GT Cabriolet: Luxury is sport

The latest Bentley Continental GT Cabriolet can do it all: stick to the sides of a Ferrari when attacking a mountain pass, or pamper its passengers as only a Rolls-Royce can. A hell of a big difference in the English way. We have tried it!

When it comes to exceptional automobiles, there are several schools. The first, dear to brands like Rolls-Royce, aims to offer the highest level of luxury possible by deliberately losing interest in sporty driving. The second, followed by brands such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche or Mercedes-AMG, prefers to prioritize driving sensations before maximum comfort. But between these two extremes, many compromises exist. An Aston Martin, for example, can combine interior refinement with soft cushioning while still maintaining driving pleasure. A Porsche 911 Turbo S, which has become an absolute benchmark for sports performance, also knows how to take care of its occupants. But when it comes to the subtle balance between absolute luxury and driving pleasure, Bentley’s recipe has a special place in today’s automotive landscape.

Take the very latest convertible version of the Continental GT, which was upgraded to a new model generation two years ago. Its style still refers to the world of luxury cars, despite more muscular lines than before. Once installed in this interior lined with the finest leathers in the world, where metal replaces plastic almost systematically, it feels like a Rolls-Royce. The feeling of driving an elitist English convertible is confirmed after the start: drowned in the center of a universe full of precious materials, caressed by a light Mediterranean breeze but isolated from the big eddies of the air and the pangs of everyday life , we feel like in an open palace. The damping provides a little that “flying carpet” effect specific to the best luxury limousines, but a small detail betrays the dual personality of this extraordinary machine: the discreet but permanent gurgling of the new V8 installed under the front hood.

The first acceleration confirms that with its 550 horsepower, this luxury barge can also accelerate like a Porsche 911. Even better, it also resists bends. While a Rolls-Royce twists painfully in a curve, the Bentley retains a degree of dynamic efficiency that you might not suspect admiring its aristocratic dress. It must be said that the great English GT is based on a Porsche Panamera chassis revised and corrected by Bentley engineers. Without going as far as the German in terms of sporting artifices (no rear steering wheels), the British cousin displays an impressive level of control as soon as it is really brutalized. There is even something to slide happily from the rear end of a bend, something absolutely unthinkable with the old model. Admittedly, it still lacks a steering feel less filtered and a more permissive box in manual mode to believe you are driving a real super-sports car from Ferrari or Aston Martin. But none of these competitors will be able to navigate with so much serenity in the hostility of classic road traffic. At the wheel of a Continental GT, it takes weeks and thousands of kilometers to start feeling a hint of fatigue. By the way, we only noted 9.5 liters per 100 kilometers in consumption on a Marseille-Monaco negotiated slightly above the speed limits. Yes, this 2.4 tonne liner, capable of bringing down 0 to 100 km / h in 4 seconds and spinning at 318 km / h, can be fuel efficient on the road!

Photos: Cédric Pinatel